LiveTradingNews interviewed Scott Kettle, CEO of GAWK, Inc., a leader in the telecommunications space that is growing revenue through acquisitions – GAWK announced their fourth this week – and through organic growth.
1: What’s behind the exceptional growth in revenue for GAWK? You’ve announced nearly $6 million in annual sales, up from virtually nothing 2 ½ years ago
A: GAWK reaches 100 million people a month, both domestically and internationally. We are an active buyer of data centers and support facilities, having made 4 acquisitions in the past 18 months. We believe in growth through adding staff, facilities and Internet and Cloud real estate. We also provide extraordinary service.
2: What’s available for GAWK in terms of potential acquisitions? Are there that many data centers available?
A: Yes, there are. In January of this year, Verizon and AT&T started to sell their data center assets. Windstream Holdings sold its data center business for $575 million to TierPoint last year. Unlike the large Telco’s, we focus on Tier 2 cities, where many small centers are located, some established in the 1960’s and 70’s. Some are family businesses, some come with real estate. Specific centers might even become GAWK stores, where we gain tax advantages through hiring local talent. We have identified 21 additional data center acquisitions, and are moving forward with negotiations for several in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and internationally, in Brazil, Australia, Singapore and Canada.
3: One of your acquisitions had an emphasis on Voice Over Internet. Do you see a big market opportunity there?
A: Decidedly yes, Just in April of this year, ZZZ Link reported that the global Voice over IP service market totaled $73 billion in 2015. That’s a five percent increase over the prior year, reportedly being fueled by businesses’ move to cloud-based services. GAWK plans expansion in the arena because we make it easier for Small to Medium Enterprises to do business more economically. These companies used to pay a fortune to build IT infrastructure. GAWK can build out the platform at a very reasonable price, GAWK Cloud computing technologies have helped in reducing expenses and eradicating others that are paid by these companies. Using GAWK, companies will not need server hardware for e-mail productivity applications and databases or even devices operating systems. Companies using GAWK cloud computing technologies now have great competitive market opportunities that might become a vital factor for their success in financial resources, management and providing innovative products and services to their customers.
4. What services Does GAWK Actually provide to Businesses?
A: GAWK Cloud computing services offers three groups; providing software as a service (SaaS) such as e-mail services, productivity applications, databases and customer service programs. Secondly, we provide platforms as a service (Paas). The third group includes providing infrastructure as a service, such as delivering server hosting and data storage services through cloud computing centers, where the customer no longer needs to buy servers or data storage devices at their buildings and can rent it remotely instead. These services also provide various creative applications such as artificial intelligence and self-learning programs for security safety and privacy of information services. Companies have invested in these services at 10 times higher cost.
5: Why is that important to GAWK’s future?
A: Estimates are that 1.3 billion employees will be working on the go by the end of this year, which accounts for 37 percent of the total workforce and an increase of 300 million employees compared to 2010. More than 27 percent of SMEs work on an international level compared with 16 percent in 2010. More than 31 percent of SMEs expect the presence of redundant data across multiple user devices which means wasting time in synchronizing various data been those devices and losing large capacities in order to store that data.
Forty-five percent of companies believe that their employees are showing greater effectiveness and performance due to cloud computing and mobile devices technologies, while 34 percent of companies confirm that cloud computing technologies enable employees to work better in a team. 35 percent of companies using cloud technologies achieved 15 percent more profits than other companies with a sharp increase in the speed of job creation.
6. Many consumers are asking, just what is Cloud Computing? It’s a term that average people have difficulty understanding.
A: Cloud services are a large and growing market, said Reuters, in a report earlier this year. Companies like Rackspace, salesforce and Amazon have expanded and are now in multiple segments of the cloud services market, which research firm IDC expects to reach $200 billion by 2018. According to Reuters, these and other cloud services stocks are seeing valuations generally in the range of 3x to 5x on the basis of enterprise value to 2014 revenues, and as high as 30 x.
7: Technically, where is GAWK ahead of the curve?
A: GAWK’s superior technology allows customers, agents and providers to each have a customized portal providing pertinent information to the user. Customer sign ups and agent account creation data is automatically entered into the switch and tracked. The customer and carrier are made accountable for managing their own data, removing liability of internal mistakes or need for superfluous procedures. We provide Caller ID blocking technology, which prevents poor performing callers from burdening the network with low quality traffic and optimizes termination facilities for maximum profits. GAWK’s services are “Always On” to trace, capture and retrieval, which store every packet traversing the network. The information can be easily retrieved through a CDR search and call ladder displayed with packet details.
8: Can you give some examples of where GAWK has made a difference?
A: Yes, I can. Earlier this year, GAWK stepped in to assist the Utah State University Trisped YES! Project by intercepting and remediating a potential interruption of service. This was the second time our high technological standards were tested recently and we continue to display the Company’s prowess and technical skill. GAWK maintains a strong investment in infrastructure power and service. We are always ready for any emergency.
9: Do you see an opportunity in extending your services to commercial buildings?
A: Definitely. We announced recently that we had lit up our first office building with “Last Mile” Wireless Technology, extending services to thousands of businesses. We secured roof rights to the office tower where our data center, WebRunners, in The Irvine Spectrum, in Orange County, California is located. Our Wireless technology gives us a clear line of sight to several thousand businesses. This project brings a new dimension to the delivery capabilities of our Hosted Communications services, and highlights the competitive and economic advantages of using Wireless technology for the delivery of broadband services to business.
10: What should investors look forward for GAWK for the next 12 to 24 months?
A: We will continue to pursue acquisitions that make financial and footprint sense for GAWK. GAWKTALK, a service we provide, targets local, state and national parties and candidates for the election season and beyond. We’ve done this very successfully before, for both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee, and for contenders and nominees. We’re talking to major candidate’s teams right now. GAWKTALK also works for enterprise and small to-medium businesses that want increased visibility to build their customer base and increase sales.
Investors can also look for GAWK’s continued expansion into international VoIP contracts. Our subsidiary companies, NetD, WebRunners, Inc., Connexum, and Xtelus, are active in the international platform. The international telecom business is a high revenue contributor, which is part of the reason for our series of acquisitions.
GAWK is now a Full Service business class telecom provider, providing Hosted PBX services, competing directly with 8X8, Vonage, and other market leaders, reaching 100 million people each month in 21 Countries and 31 Major Cities for Cloud and Edge Data Center Services.